It is now common to see that the media, companies or agencies use the image of countless people, something that of course is not bad… as long as it is done legally. If this is not the case, conflicts may arise between the person in the image and the entity that has used it, such as the recent case between a Colombian influencer and a well-known media outlet.
So, can a media outlet use my image without problem? Yes and no. That is, like everything in Colombia (and in any country) we must stick to what the laws allow us. Traditionally, this issue had been approached from the Copyright perspective, but what if I appear in the image, but it was not taken by me? Thinking about these cases, in 2012 Law 1581 came into force, which requires considering the image of any person as personal data.
Said law explains the proper treatment for the use of personal images. The first thing is that, if the image of a person is going to be used, that person must be aware of it; that is, a prior authorization must be signed. Likewise, the person in the photo can know, update, rectify their personal data or revoke the authorization when the agreement is not respected. On the other hand, the omission of the established agreements or the non-authorization by the person can lead to sanctions from the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) for the evading media. That said, if a media outlet uses any of your photos without your permission, you can proceed legally.
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Keep in mind that the photographs that are uploaded to social networks are also contemplated here. That is to say, the medium will not be able to use a photo that you published on your personal networks on the grounds that it is of a “public nature”. The Law maintains that, in the same way, prior authorization must be obtained from the owner, unless the person is a public figure and as long as the news is related to the image used.
For its part, the SIC makes a series of recommendations in its ‘Guide on the treatment of photos as personal data’:
- Obtain prior, express and informed authorization to take photos and use them.
- Verify the legitimate origin of the photos provided by third parties.
- Keep in mind the special rules for dealing with photos of children under 18 years of age.
- Inform the photographed (Data Holder) of the specific purposes for which the photos will be used.
- Require compliance with Data Protection regulations from third parties that you hire to process photos.
- Refrain from obtaining photos in a misleading manner and do not assume that publicly accessible photos are freely available to you.
For more information on the treatment of photos as personal data, we invite you to review the Guide designed by the SIC.